Transcendentalism; Positive or Negative

923 words 4 pages
Melanie Milam
Honors English II
Mrs. Nelson
2 April 2014
Transcendentalism; Positive or Negative Transcendentalism is a social and philosophical movement that taught five tenets of how to live life. Those tenets being; Everything reflects the divine soul, God is in nature and man, use your intuition to relate to God and nature, be self-reliant and express your individualism, and be spontaneous and seize the day. Thoreau and Emerson reflect all of these tenets in their poems, and they’re shown in the character Mr. Keating in the movie Dead Poets Society. He teaches the kids at this school all about transcendentalism in English class, and throughout the movie you see the positive and negative effects of his teachings.
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They all have rich parents that are planning their future for them and no matter how much the boys want to do something else they follow what they’re told. Mr. Keating isn’t trying to tell them to not respect rules and authority, like some people think, but rather is teaching them to ‘reject the status quo’ because they’re life is going to be what they make out of it. Individualism, non-conformity, and self-reliance are all key points in transcendentalism. All three of these points are incorporated into the movie, Dead Poets Society. Emerson and Thoreau stress these values in all their writings, and it’s the reason their names are so closely associated with the transcendentalism movement. Even though this idea was expressed in the nineteenth century it can still be conveyed in the modern day. The film is a good representation of transcendentalism tenets in today world. Yet the film overall could be seen as one big negative effect, it has a long term effect that has changed that school forever. One of the biggest strengths of it is that it does change how everyone views life as a whole, but one of the biggest weaknesses is that sometimes it takes a long time for those strengths to be regarded as positive things. To be transcendentalist, you need to be able to speak for yourself and express your individuality but, the major thing you need to be able to do, is accept the consequences and hope that someday your words will make a